Lessen your impact

I recently read this article. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
Now, I’m the type of person that will totally read that article and go “Oh Noes! Must. Rid. Life. Of. ALL. PLASTIC.” and then later that day go to the grocery store and realize that nearly everything in my cart has unnecessary packaging. Or that I’ve packed all my food “blocks” (for my food/diet plan) into individual ziplock baggies to make it easier to take meals to work, even on days when I’m in a hurry. Making sudden drastic changes like that is just not realistic, especially considering how much plastic surrounds us on a daily basis and how we don’t even think about what we’re using a lot of the time, but I am working on getting myself out of the disposable mindset. At the same time, there are things I can do, and easily, so why wouldn’t I do them?
A lot of times, those same things save me money. Making coffee at work and drinking out of a reusable cup, rather than buying it downstairs, generating a paper cup and plastic lid every day? I also drink water all day at my desk. Instead of using disposable (recyclable) plastic bottles that I keep replacing, why not use a refillable aluminum bottle? (I really like Sigg bottles, I have two of them.) On my recent trip to Seattle, I bought this spork(ife) because it amused me. It managed to end up in my desk drawer and I now use pretty much whenever I need a utensil in the office, rather than using the disposables we keep around.
I think my boss may have started to think I’m becoming Environmentalist Girl, because I’m trying to lessen office waste too. We use a lot of “working copies” around here, and I probably shred a ream of paper a week. That’s a LOT of paper. I’ve starting printing letter drafts on the second side of paper in my shred bin. Those drafts don’t leave the general vicinity of my desk, so it’s not like there is a chance of information accidentally getting into the wrong hands, and it cuts the waste in HALF. That’s big. We recycle our shredding, but reducing our use saves both trees and our office budget.
Plastic is everywhere, and is pretty hard to escape in day to day life. But is it really so hard to try to limit how much I’m putting the landfill, or to pick up the plastic bag blowing across the parking lot so it doesn’t end up in the ocean or the bay? Not really. It just involves a little shift in thinking- considering my actions before I take them. And when I think abut the fact that I want to have kids someday, I think about the fact that I want them to have a world that is healthy for them. If I can take steps today, especially steps that don’t inconvenience me in any way, that can make that happen for the next generations, I actually think it would be wrong of me not to do them.